Cover Image: Beyonders Vol 1

Beyonders Vol 1

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Member Reviews

It was a great first volume with fantastic llustrations. A graphic novel about a young boy obsessed with codes and the secret organization that wants to recruit him. Definitely a premise I was super excited to read about and that spoke to me.

It is a mix of dark topics like x-files, chilling adventures of sabrina and a Dan Brown thriller. Definitely for fans of any of these.

For being the first volume it catches your attention right away and takes you in a great adventure. Definitely a title I would like to continue reading.
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This was very close to a four star rating, but it slides down to three stars for leaving too much open for a volume two. And, that assumes sales were good enough that the publishers wants a volume two.

Jake, his talking welsh corgi, ok I have a soft spot for the breed (but not as much as one for labs, pits, and shepherds), are an entertaining enough mix. This isn't a tale where characterization matters much. This is like an olde time movie serial, or Indiana Jones movie. It's about the chase and the mystery. I'm more than a bit of a fan of this type of story, but way too often it isn't well told.

It just so happens that the mystery seems to involve every damn conspiracy theory in the English language (because I'm certain there are conspiracies in other languages that haven't been translated yet). Props to Jenkins for keeping the connection between the conspiracies, even when it gets really, really thin.

Jenkins does a good enough job of getting the reader to follow along. I wanted to see if our main characters would avoid capture and death.

But, the final chapter's cliffhanger was bit much to dump on the reader, especially as we don't know if we will get resolution.
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I liked the conspiracy theories angle of the book. There is a lot of room for the creators to play with different theories down the line. It was interesting to see how they pulled some of them together in this volume. Jake, the young man that is the center of this story, is kind of a boring character to me. He grew on me by the end of this volume, but not enough to really care about his story. His flatulent dog seemed to have more personality at times.

I'm torn on the art. Some of it is great. I particularly liked how there were symbols strewn throughout the book and am curious what importance they might end up having. At other times, the art seemed incomplete or rushed. That might just be a stylistic choice that didn't pay off for me though. I found this to be a decent enough story, but it didn't catch my attention enough to want to continue the series.
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This was an interesting enough premise, that all the conspiracy theories in history are related. And the book has a fun jet-setting, serial vibe with our heroes traipsing the world on search for clues. I'm a little worried Jenkins won't be able to pay off all the anachronistic elements he sets up in this or if we'll even get a sequel that explains things. Jenkins left this too open-ended for my tastes given these small press books often don't get future volumes to wrap things up. Wesley St. Claire's art feels more like unfinished sketches.
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I picked this graphic novel mainly because of the cover. I got a bit of an Indiana Jones vibe, and I was not disappointed. As an introduction to a series it delivered on all accounts. The conspiracy theory dating back hundreds of years, which was at the centre of the story, took the main characters to the most remote locations and the twist at the end... Let's just say I would love to continue with the story straight away.
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If you have any interest in secret societies, history mysteries, or conspiracy theories, than this is the book for you. Building off of the Voynich manuscript and the Antikythera mechanism, Jenkins spins a complex world of early computer programming and predictions, of secret societies at war with one another.
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While I wasn't the biggest fan of this book, I do think it would make a good addition to a graphic novel section in any library. It was very interesting and I liked the concept. I just don't think that it was very well executed. The first 40 or so pages were great and then it went down hill from there. While I think that the story devolved into a convoluted mess, there was something to it and the artwork was gorgeous. I think that fans of X-Files, Indiana Jones, or the Delilah Dirk series would probably like this series as well.
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This book sounded amazing but unfortunately, I read a total of thirteen pages before realizing this was not for me.
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What if you learned that all the conspiracy theories you knew (and those you did not) are both true and false at the same time? Jake is a high school obsessed with conspiracy theories and he just found out that his aunt and uncle were actually robots and his dog, Shadwell, is a genetically modified guard dog. Oh, a secret organization is out to kill him when a blue-lipped girl offers him a way out. So join Jake, Narine, and Shadwell on a adventure to discover what the real secret of the universe is and how they fit in while dodging bullets, assassins, and cracking codes galore! Enjoy the ride!
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I could easily become addicted to this series.  It had me reaching for google trying to decide if the author was creating things, or using real things found in our world.  It’s all real.  This book is about the various ciphers and found objects that still have no translation, or have a conspiracy theory wrapped around them like the Voynich manuscript and the hidden ciphers in Pomp and Circumstance.  Plus the author and illustrator have put in a cipher for the reader to decipher.  I love how the creators put all these various conspiracy theories into one story, about what will either be the end of the world, or the beginning of a new one.  If you are a fan of National Treasure or the Davinci Code, pick up this GN.  If you are not a fan, Pick it up anyway.  It was awesome.  Plus,  there is a majorly cute dog with a gas problem.
#Readharder #alternate History
#NancyDrewChallenge - #Solveapuzzle
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The best thing about this book is the Welsh Corgi.

He's the main character of the story. Let no else dissuade you from that.

I enjoyed Beyonders, it def had a good sense of mystery and intrigue. Though at times the scientific jargon was a bit too much. I've read a lot of thrillers especially concerning Ancient World mysteries and they have the same problem.

In order to write an alternate history or to present a conspiracy theory, you have to make it sound interesting. But there should be a limit within how much you present as scientific jargon, and how much you present it as dialogue.

The problem I had, was while this referenced Assassin's Creed (fantastic!) it went too much like Salvation (A US TV show based on an incoming doomsday) which had too many confusing character arcs. In the sense that Jake, and Liam Cole are very similar. They keep going on and on with the jargon. I don't know much, but all I would say is to make it less scientific and more engaging. Okay so, for example, I've read about climate change. What new can you tell me about it? Say what's happening in the Brazilian Rainforests? From a distance, I don't know much about it until I hear it from a person that's directly affected by it. Does it affect a farmer? Does it affect an individual?

The pacing was a bit too fast for me. At times we went from so many different locations that at the end this is a problem I have with comic book movies. You are going so fast I would have preferred to stay in one place. Like, say Asterix and Obelix. Every city you went to. you spent at least 2-3 pages here. At one point we were in Istanbul, the next in another city etc.

That would be my honest criticism.

However, don't let this dissuade you. If you want an action-filled adventure comic that we don't get about enough more connecting mysterious ancient conspiracies, then look no further than Beyonders.

I really want the next series to go to Ancient Egypt. Please add a time machine! One of the problems I have with plots like this sure we're always in the Modern day. Why not have some perspectives of the Ancient People? What would they think? Its always interesting to you know to do this. I've read 1636 by Eric Flint and the entire series is people from the 21st century interacting with people from 1636? If all we see is another order bent on saving/destroying the world, why don't we push this a little further? Why don't we have a time travelling ministry or a machine that has been run by the Ancient Egyptians? They probably have a secret order that has existed for all eternity and in the end they may return to conquer the world and they're all agents of Pharoah Tutmose III who in all accounts was the Napoleon of Egypt.

Just my thoughts!
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Jake lives with his Uncle Paul and Aunt Karen in Alaska. He has a flatulent Welsh Corgi with one eye called Shadwell. After spending most of his time breaking codes and researching conspiracy theories, Jake learns that all of the conspiracies are true. Right around the same time, he learns that everything he thought was true about his life is actually a lie. Enter Nadine from the Beyonders, his soon to be insta love with the blue lips.

Nadine tells him about the Beyonders and the Order, an “ancient society bent on preserving a power structure that keeps us subservient”, otherwise known as the Illuminati.

It turns out that Jake is the only one in the world who can crack a super important, super old code and does so overnight, despite it having thwarted people for centuries before him.

He also learns how high the stakes are. Sort of.

“The stakes are too high.”
“What are the stakes, exactly?”
“Higher than you can imagine.”

Jake spends a fair amount of time talking about how confusing and complicated the situation is.

Between all of the complicated stuff and the miraculous way everything comes together, including a very specific prophecy (so specific that Nadine’s blue lips are mentioned) there’s also an abundance of sandwiches, references to the dog’s flatulence and Leonardo da Vinci.

Personally, I had trouble taking Nadine seriously. I couldn’t see past her collagen overdosed lips.

I also had some unanswered questions, which I don’t expect to be answered in future Volumes. For example, if Shadwell was specifically placed in the animal shelter for Jake, how did the Beyonders know he’d choose that particular dog?

I was initially intrigued by the mystery within the mystery component of this graphic novel. There’s symbols to decipher as you make your way through the story in the form of a treasure hunt.

Before I’d even begun reading the story I spent at least half an hour diligently copying the various letters and symbols onto a piece of paper so I could decipher the code. I applaud anyone who actually follows through with this though. I gave up transcribing the symbols on page 33. There’s a symbol on every panel and some of them aren’t overly clear (is that supposed to be an O or a zero?). 

Had I fallen in love with the story I probably would have persevered in the hopes of winning something related to the Beyonders but it turns out I couldn’t even cheat properly! After I decided I wasn’t playing to win I figured I’d at least go to the AfterShock website to see what the answer was, but I couldn’t find it. Maybe the specific website address is included in the code. Maybe I couldn’t see it for looking. Maybe someone at AfterShock forgot to include the answer on the graphic novel’s page. Who knows?! 

I loved ‘Indiana Jones’ and have been obsessed with ‘The X-Files’ for more than half of my life so this should have been the graphic novel for me. Unfortunately it just didn’t work for me. All of the pieces fit together too easily for the main character and, although my ‘I’ll believe pretty much anything if it makes the story more fun’ threshold is fairly high (or low, depending on how you look at it), I didn’t believe.

Thank you to NetGalley, AfterShock Comics and Diamond Book Distributors for the opportunity to read this graphic novel. I’m rounding up from 2.5 stars.
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I was given a copy from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.

This series was very average. The idea of conspiracy theories all being connected is a very interesting premise, but I don't feel like it lands very well. At some parts it even feels hokey. 

The art is beautiful and I mostly kept reading so I could say I gave it a fair shot, I probably won't continue with the series unless I hear rave things about later volumes.
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This graphic novel was amazing. It combined history, mystery, threw in curveballs and a Star Wars type reveal. I do not want to give it away so follow my lead and read this novel. Will Jake, Narine and Shadwell destroy the world or will they save it and crack the many codes and ciphers left by the Beyonders?
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This book was pretty amazing. I love these sort of mysteries and really cannot wait until I read Volume 2. It was a mixture of The Library, National Treasure, Indiana Jones, and so many of my other favourite shows and movies. I love anything that has clues and puzzles.
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I enjoyed Beyonders more than I thought I would actually! It's a bundle of conspiracy theories, unsolved mysteries and a boy, girl and dog. Jake is a wise young nerd and everything changes suddenly when his supposed parents turn out to be robots. It seems the boy is needed to solve these weird mysteries and he meets a girl named Narine, who can predict the future with numbers. These two set on a mission to solve crop patterns, Alexandrian library mystery and whatnot and it seems they were supposed to do that, since old predictions tell them that many times over their journey. I really liked the Voynich Manuscript and all the other parts that were connected quite nicely. I just wish Jenkins had used more time to add meat around the bones, since the comic is mainly our protagonists running from one place to another. Also, they come up with the solutions too quickly and all the interesting parts are gone before we get into them more profoundly. Hasty, I'd even say.

The art works quite nicely, but seems slightly rushed and full, which makes this somewhat hard to follow when you take into account the fact that the plot moves way too fast. The color world looks great with bright and rich colors that are still dark and tempting. The whole package is interesting and I'd surely like to know what happens, but I do hope Jenkins gives time to this comic to evolve. Also, the romance isn't really needed, friendship would've sufficed. But still, interesting surely.
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BEYONDERS Vol. 1's writing and art reminded me of BOOM! Studios' Black Badge vol. 1. And I had a similar reaction to it which is that I am not either titles' intended audience.

BEYONDERS seems intended for a YA audience who are fans of conspiracy theories. 

Written by Paul Jenkins -- an accomplished pro -- does a great job with the world-building. 

However, there are moments of wonkiness — like having an aunt and uncle who are secretly malfunctioning robots — are dropped in and never really explained and who don't work as either a source of humor or an element of suspense. Also, I know for younger audiences, you have to have more hand-holding in explanations. 

With a centuries-old conspiracy at the center of the story that touches on established conspiracies and develops a lot of its mythology, there seemed like a lot of rehashing so the reader would not get lost. Once again, I'm not BEYONDERS intended audience so someone younger than me will probably have a blast with the reveals, the adventures, and the mystery of it all.

As for the art, it is was distinctive, clear, and expressive. Looking at it again, for me, it invokes a bit of Walt Simonson's earlier Manhunter work. 

As for the coloring, the pages were full of pale pastels with an impressionistic approach to coloring. Sometimes, the choices brought me out of the story. I didn't understand the decision to color the story like this. It wasn't my thing.
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This one missed the mark for me unfortunately. I can appreciate how some would enjoy the conspiracy aspects an dialogue. It had a great premise which drew me in initially. A little rework would do wonders and if there is a dog of any type you are hallway there!
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Copy received through Netgalley


The Beyonders, Vol. 1, by Paul Jenkins
120 Pages

I'll be honest, my first reaction was that this was weird. It's a little cheesy, with a snarky POV, and I wasn't sure if I'd like it or not. But the more I read, the more I enjoyed it. I love nothing more than a good conspiracy theory, and this one was just full of it.

There were a lot of surprises, but I also really loved the way that it told the stories of the historical conspiracies, mixed in with the current storyline. It was original, clever, a really different style of story, with a captivating plot. The characters were interesting and fun. I loved the dog. I can't wait to read more.
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'Beyonders Vol. 1: The Mapmakers' by Paul Jenkins with art by Wesley St. Claire is a graphic novel about a young boy obsessed with codes and the secret organization that wants to recruit him.

Jake lives in Alaska with his corgi and his aunt and uncle.  He is in to conspiracies and codes like the Voynich Manuscript.  What he doesn't know is that his life is about to change.  Before he knows it, the things in his world aren't what they seem to be and he is off on worldwide adventures to use his codebreaking skills.

I liked parts of this.  It started well, then kind of dived in to a ludicrous attempt to tie every weird thing on the planet together.  I also didn't care for the art which had a really rushed feel about it.  In some panels, the figures aren't completed and don't even have faces, like thumbnail sketches.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Aftershock Comics, Diamond Book Distributors, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.
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